Sex Shop - How Sex Education And Entrepreneurship Has Changed The Way You Buy Sex Toys
Today, spread all over the world, sex shops are the result of the initiative of women entrepreneurs who wanted to broaden the horizons of female sexuality. Over time, through sex education, entrepreneurship, and especially technology, a lot has changed and more than ever sex toys are just a few clicks away from the consumer through online sex shops.
The online sale of sex toys has a direct influence on the development and growth of this industry because people feel safer and more comfortable behind their computers when buying sex toys online, choosing their products calmly and without embarrassment for being in front of other people.
In this article, we'll tell a bit about the history of sex shops and how the industry has developed to this day providing discretion and privacy when you buy sex toys online.
The Importance of the Sex Shop for Society
Massaging oils, penile prosthesis, G-spot vibrators, clitoral vibrators, vagina replicas with vibrators, erotic fantasies, BDSM products, edible panties, scented candles, stimulating gels and much more... All of this can be easily found through sex shops online, for affordable prices and with full descriptions about their texture, function, and effects.
Nowadays, sex shops are a part of society and are seen by many as a store like any other, however, the fight against conservatism comes from centuries and it’s no wonder that many people still have fears when it comes to acquiring or even talk about sex toys.
The sex shop has been unconsciously responsible for sexually liberating several people who didn’t know true pleasure and who sought new ways of discovering themselves. The internet sales made possible the discreet acquisition of sex toys, ensuring that new people know and take advantage of the marvels of this market that is unfairly judged by traditional society. From a social point of view, a sex shop that values the pleasure of its consumers is as important as a SPA or a relaxation clinic, because it’s through the products and services offered that its customers will have a unique satisfaction and an intense and true pleasure.
The expansion of sex shops around the world shows how cultural thinking is changing and how sexual pleasure is increasingly being valued, especially among groups that for a long time didn’t know the advantages of using such products, both to spice up the relationship and to provide personal pleasure.
How did the first sex toys come about?
Although there is no precise date on the creation of the first sex toy, it is known that several nations created sculptures of goddesses shaped for male sexual stimulation, as well as encouraging the consumption of plants and teas that stimulated blood flow and increased libido to have more pleasure during sex.
Vibrators, for example, came about in the year 1869 as a method of controlling female sexual dysfunctions and a disorder called hysteria, which occurred in women and plagued much of the European population in the nineteenth century. Female sexual stimulation through vibrators was the most effective way to control the anxiety attacks that upset women of that time.
The Popularization of Vibrators in the 1900s
With the advent of electricity in the USA residences, the use of vibrators began to become popular since it could be easily switched on by domestic power sockets. With this, the sale of vibrators grew exponentially and the population began to have knowledge about such products. The vibrators ceased to be a medicinal product and became a pleasure tool, which stimulated and satisfied the desires of women, whether they were single or engaged.
Beate Uhse: Pilot, entrepreneur, and owner of the World's First Sex Shop
Beate Uhse was born in old Prussia in 1919 and had as a maternal role model one of the five women trained as doctors in Germany. Her father, although a farmer, also embraced the liberal concept of life, through which he supported his wife's freedom and encouraged his daughter's studies. At age 16 Beate went to England to work as an au pair for a year and then graduated in Domestic Economics. Some years later she was given the opportunity by a friend of her father to work in the German air force.
From a young age, Beate Uhse was passionate about the mythological history of Icarus and dreamed of being able to fly. When the opportunity arrived, Beate put all her energy and dedication in that dream and by the age of 18, she was already flying by herself. For a few years, she flew as a test pilot and stunt double in action movies. She met and fell in love with Hans-Jürgen Uhse, with whom she married and had her first child.
As a result of the Second World War, Beate lost her husband and had to deal with mourning and her finances alone, away from the pilot career due to pregnancy, she had to resort to alternative sales to support her child and remain employed in the post-war German scenario.
Beate Uhse then began selling door-to-door products to pay the bills, where she talked to women deeply about the social problems of that time, as husbands returned home and the rate of abortion increased exponentially due to lack of knowledge and prevention. Beate began to pass on her sexual knowledge to desperate wives, teaching them how to calculate their period (safe days) and teaching techniques she had learned from her mother when she was younger.
Pamphlet X and the Idea of Opening a Sex Shop
The women had such confidence in Beate that the former pilot had decided to change the branch of their sales and create a booklet answering basic questions of personal hygiene and giving tips to improve the marriage. The final product became a small booklet, written and distributed by Beate Uhse herself in 1946. In about 2 years the marriage guide had sold more than 32,000 copies and the Beate commerce began to gain popularity for the booklets and condoms distributed to her customers.
In order to manage sales better, Beate turned its business into a mail-order system and in 1951, along with 4 employees, she continued her sales. The demand had started to grow larger than expected, requiring Beate's ongoing effort and dedication to keep orders on schedule. After 10 years working in this field and conducting sales through correspondence, Beate saw in the 1960s Sexual Revolution an opportunity to undertake and consolidate her products in German territory.
The Sexual Revolution of 1960
The Sexual Revolution lasted for about a decade, but it began in the late 1950s and early 1960s, where feminist and liberal groups advocated individual sexual freedom and confronted the traditional paradigms of the time. The revolution had as main guidelines the female sexual freedom, the incentive to use contraceptive methods, seen as a taboo until then.
In addition, the movement also carried guidelines advocating the legalization of abortion, since the post-war scenario not only harmed the country's economy but also killed women in illegal procedures, and discussed topics such as homosexuality and premarital sex. All this has caused society not only to start discussing the issue of sex, but the citizens also started developing a critical sense in the face of controversial issues.
The first sex shop and the German repression
It was in this revolutionary and chaotic scenario that Beate Uhse opened her first physical sex shop in Freiburg, Germany. The store bore the name 'Institute for Marital Hygiene' to get around conservative social judgment and to attract, through innocence, new customers seeking solutions to sexuality-related personal and marital issues. Even though she knew the difficulties and had to face the prejudice of the time, Beate opened her store every day and won more and more consumers.
However, censorship was inevitable, both by the police and other German citizens, and she was even accused of acting against morality. But Beate didn’t fall for criticism and remained firm in her business, popularizing her products and guides and encouraging the creation of new sex shops around the world.
The development of the first inflatable dolls
Alongside Beate's life events, Germany had developed accessories that currently account for a large sum of the world's erotic product sales: the Inflatable Dolls. During World War II the Nazis sought alternatives to reduce the number of venereal disease deaths on the fronts. Realizing that brothels were the source of such diseases, where soldiers went to relieve stress and suppress sexual desire, scientists began to develop semi-realistic doll models that could be used without risk of contamination.
Although the project didn’t move forward, these models became known as the first prototype inflatable dolls in history and were used as inspiration for the creation of more complex dolls in the following decades. The Second World War eventually ended up bringing unexpected innovations to the market of erotic products, turning necessity into the main fuel for creating and developing innovative and unusual designs.
The popularization of the Sex Shop and Worldwide legalization of the Erotic commerce
Following the extreme sales success of Beate Uhse's store in Germany, the market of the erotic product began to expand and reach new countries and even new continents. Even conservative countries such as Russia and China have come to allow and legalize this new trade model in their respective territories. In 1970 England inaugurated its first sex shop, located in the city of London, where tourists and locals could find a new field of products related to personal pleasure.
Following suspicion of unauthorized trade of erotic products in Italy, the first legalized store in Milan was inaugurated in 1972. In the early 1990s both Russia and China opened their first stores in Moscow and Beijing, with a wider range of products and even selling products exclusively for men's pleasure. Branches were opened around the world in countries like the United States and Canada. Even though it's located in Europe near major references in erotic products stores, France only had its first store in 2001, in Paris.
In 1977, the first store specializing in vibrators was inaugurated in San Francisco, bringing a wide variety of sizes and shapes, also providing diversity in charging options and operation of vibrators. As the first store of its kind in the world, Good Vibrations has attracted consumers from several places, both inside and outside the United States. Good Vibrations is currently one of the largest stores in this business and although it sells other types of products to its audience, it’s still a major reference when it comes to vibrators and their varieties.
1990: A true revolution in the sex toys market
One of the major problems to the salespeople, until then, was to deal with the shyness of the public to enter the stores and ask about the products and their features. Despite the sexual revolution and the 1980s actions, it was still difficult to get consumers inside the stores. However, with the arrival of the internet the sex toys market could finally evolve and thus attract a new audience to its commerce through what we know today as online sex shops.
Websites and online advertisements began introducing new products and their respective functions to the public, and for those who believed that in a sex shop there would only be vibrators, they’ve found a wide range of different and innovative products that would make a major difference in sexual relations. Massage oils and creams could be viewed with more time and ordered with discretion over the phone or by email, making the purchasing process safer for the consumer and sparing direct contact with the seller, which for many is still a major barrier to overcome.
As the sector grew economically, companies were able to invest more in new technologies and enhance their products, bringing new products to consumers and at a more affordable price, so that sales would continue, ensuring the market would continually supply itself in a sustainable manner. This system used in various sales sectors has been effective for erotic products because there is always a way to innovate in creating and finding new ways to provide pleasure.
Creation of the Beate Uhse Erotic Museum and entrance in the stock market
With all the sex shops repercussion around the world, Beate Uhse’s name has gained notoriety in the erotic products segment as well as among entrepreneurs and investors. In 1996 the Beate Uhse Erotic Museum was founded in Germany to honor the creator of the world's first sex shop and break the mainstream taboo established by conservative and traditionalist movements.
The museum’s purpose is to treat the subject of erotic products in an educational manner and has over 5,000 articles on display, from the first condom designs created in India to products sold by Beate Uhse herself in her years as a German entrepreneur.
Three years after the museum's inauguration, Beate Uhse gained relevance for economic reasons, entering the stock market and becoming a big name among world companies. It’s undeniable that products sold under the Beate Ushe brand implicitly bring the glamor of the company's years of growth and success, making it overly relevant as a purchase and even a collector’s item. Beate died on July 16, 2001, in Switzerland and was able to glimpse her achievements and the magnitude of her entrepreneurial acts about half a century ago.
The influence of Sex And The City to the female public
In 1998 HBO launched a popular TV show called Sex And The City, based on a book of the same name that tells the story of four friends on their 30’s who live in New York and share their experiences with each other. However, the popularity of the TV show came from the easy rapport between the audience and the characters, causing not only the expected empathy but also the desire and admiration for such figures.
The subject of sex is often addressed in the show and the characters tell about their personal toys and go to sex shops naturally and in a non-sexualized way. As a result, many women became interested in the toys shown on the screen and felt free enough to go to such stores to see their products. The Rabbit vibrator presented by the character Miranda, for example, has become a worldwide sales leader and is still a product sought and desired by the female audience.
The show brought to women of that time something that had never been discussed in schools or in groups of friends: sexual independence and its naturalness. While other TV shows repudiated and treated erotic products as a joke, the protagonists of Sex And The City showed that owning a vibrator is normal and healthy for all women.
The potential of online sex shops and their role today
Nowadays it has become increasingly common to purchase products from sex shops over the internet, both for convenience and for discretion in delivery. Anyone can purchase erotic products without having to expose themselves to entering a physical store. About 90% of sex shops sales are made via the internet and e-commerce has increasingly made this consumption easier. Today consumers can research prices, models and product features from the comfort of their mobile phone.
However, it’s important to note that sexual freedom movements also have a great impact on the growth of such markets. Female sexual freedom and the incentive to discover one's own body are some of the main reasons people tend to look for sex toys. It’s becoming increasingly acceptable, both socially and culturally, the use of sex toys in sexual relationships.
Product Diversification and Target Audience Sectoring
The erotic products industry has taken such a large scale that it can now offer precise and highly technological products targeted at all types of audiences. Some sex shops prefer to specialize in certain sectors of the erotic market, such as BDSM sex shops or, as we saw earlier, Good Vibrations in San Francisco. Investing in specific areas gives the store greater credibility and can meet specific and demanding audiences.
Just as some stores only sell long dresses and make them to perfection, so many sex shops prefer to focus on one type of product making the most of it and being creative for the consuming public. In the long run, this changes the market and generates affordable high-end sex toys, shaping the economy of erotic products, as occurred in the early 1990s.
Investments opportunities and pleasure guaranteed to the consumer
The history of the sex shop, contrary to popular belief, is not tainted with sin or vulgarity, instead, it shows that wit and an entrepreneurial mindset can open doors throughout life. Beate Uhse was looking for alternative ways to help women of her day to cope with difficulties using the teachings she received from her family. The vibrators were created as a solution to a disorder considered common in the 19th century. Several products used as stimulators were adapted from eastern medicine and from herbal medicine therapy knowledge.
The erotic products market is, as with any other sales segment, a market full of opportunities and possibilities that is open to anyone who wants to consume, invest, create or just know more about it. The hope is that in a few years talking about sex will no longer be a taboo and that people will have relationships freely and pleasurably.
The Sex Shop and adult toys are just tools to improve the sex life and wellbeing of everyone and today, with infinite possibilities and a vast diversity of sex shops online, it’s easier than ever to achieve pleasure buying sex toys online safely without leaving the comfort of your home.
- Madame C.